Pregnancy Loss

The loss of a baby is a sad reality for many families. Ectopic pregnancies, miscarriage and stillbirths can happen at any time during a pregnancy but differ according to when the loss occurs.

Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy happens when an egg implants outside the womb. Often this happens in the fallopian tubes and typically appears between the 4th and 12th weeks of pregnancy. About 1% of those born women can experience this type of pregnancy in their lifetime. In fact, one study suggests that about one in 50 pregnancies in the U.S. are ectopic.1

There are various risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy, including medical conditions, age and lifestyle. Still, many times the cause is unknown. An ectopic pregnancy can cause your fallopian tube to burst or rupture. Early detection can sometimes save the fallopian tube from permanent damage. Early signs of an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain
  • Upset stomach and vomiting
  • Sharp abdominal cramps
  • Pain on one side of your body
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Pain in your shoulder, neck or rectum

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your provider right away. If you start to feel lightheaded along with heavy vaginal bleeding, stomach, and shoulder pain, call 911 or go to your local emergency room right away.




Miscarriages happen before the 20th week of pregnancy. About 10% to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.But the actual number is likely higher because many occur before a person even knows they’re pregnant. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Heavy bleeding or spotting during pregnancy
  • Severe belly pain or cramping during pregnancy

Other less serious issues can also cause these symptoms. Many times, there are no symptoms at all. If you think you might be having a miscarriage, see your provider right away.

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A stillbirth is when a fetus dies after the 20th week of pregnancy. Stillbirth happens in one of 160 pregnancies in the U.S. yearly.3

 Stillbirths are classified in three categories:

  • Early stillbirth: Pregnancy ends between 20–27 weeks
  • Late stillbirth: Pregnancy ends between 28–36 weeks
  • Term stillbirth: Pregnancy ends the 37th week or after

The cause is not always known, but may include:

  • Issues with the placenta
  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • High blood pressure or preeclampsia  
  • Clotting disorders such as hemophilia
  • Trauma, infections or lifestyle choices   

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Behavioral and mental health

If you or a family member have experienced a pregnancy loss, help is available. 

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1. Ectopic (Extrauterine) Pregnancy

2. Miscarriage - Symptoms and causes

3. What is Stillbirth?

The information contained on this webpage is for educational purposes only. Nothing on this webpage is intended to be, nor should be used as or relied upon as, professional medical advice. Nothing contained on this webpage is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. For medical advice, or to receive medical diagnosis or treatment, consult with your health care provider.